Susan Scott is a best-selling author and leadership development architect who has enabled top executives worldwide to engage in vibrant dialogue with one another, with their employees, and with their customers for two decades. For 13 years, Susan ran think tanks for CEOs and designed and delivered training to peers working with CEOs in 18 countries. In 2002, Fierce Conversations — Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time, was published in 4 countries and, shortly thereafter, was listed on The Wall Street Journal and UPI best seller lists, and was one of USA TODAY’S top 40 business books of 2002. Her much anticipated second book — Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst “Best” Practices of Business Today was published September 15, 2009. In its debut week, the book was listed on The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times best seller lists. Susan founded Fierce in 2001 after more than 10,000 hours of conversations with senior executives and one epiphany: While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life - any single conversation can.
How did you get into the industry?
It wasn’t planned. I had an epiphany – that our careers, our companies, our relationships and our very lives succeed or fail, gradually then suddenly, one conversation at a time. It greatly influenced my work with leaders; I wrote a book that was a best seller and the company came out of that.
Any emerging industry trends?
Many changes! There is a sea change in performance management. Companies are turning to Fierce, Inc. because they realize that anonymous feedback is ineffective. What is needed are face-to-face conversations and many people are afraid to have those conversations.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Not everyone can attend a traditional classroom training. Asynchronous learning without a facilitator is in demand. The challenge is to create a compelling experience for individuals wherever they are and whenever they want to learn. Technology will rule here but given the topic, it has to be emotionally intelligent technology.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I answered the first part in question 1. My vision for our business is to help people all over the world learn how to connect – at a deep level – with the people who are important to their success and happiness. Not just in companies.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Continued, accelerated growth.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Continuing to hire great people is the key to our success. Our culture is healthy. People love to be here. They have genuine affection for one another and consequently, they do great work together.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
When I fired my daughter, several employees who were under her spell, left the company. What became clear was that they needed to leave. Bringing new people in brought fresh air to our culture. What I learned is that if you sense there is a problem, you’re right. There is. Get in there and deal with it.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
When they leave a fierce training, they begin using everything they learned immediately. And, since during the training, they practice conversations focused on real issues, they’ve gotten some valuable work done.
How do you motivate others?
I see them, value them and ensure that they know this.
Career advice to those in your industry?
If you had the entire world listening to you and you only had 20 seconds, what would you say? And whatever that is should give you goosebumps.